As an alternate approach:

what would the problem be to start shipping a minimal version of ruby,
from the next release, with everything except stdlib, which is
replaced with a gem distribution? Then we can promote it (with an
appropriate fallback to support the fully bundled version for
environments which need it).

We have the wonderful rake, so I can't imagine it would be much more
difficult to extend our build system to handle the minimal version.

At least this might allow us to break the deadlock and see if people
would be willing to switch to a simpler, clean version of ruby which
ships without monkey-patches and hacks to make libraries work -
allowing us to have a nice clean base to start adding libraries to?

Best,
James

PS: i am sure this equally applies to the other thread; the reason for
posting here is as a humble idea to help break the deadlock.